Smart Factory (Digital Factory) is the intelligent factory of tomorrow. It is completely modular in design, and its standardised interfaces and modern information technology enable highly flexible automation. This enables shorter product cycles and the individualisation of products at the cost of mass production.
The term has been coined by research in production technology. The Smart Factory is the objective of the high-tech strategy of the German government, as part of the future project Industrie 4.0. In the Smart Factory there will be a production environment where production plants and logistics systems largely organise and optimise themselves. The products manufactured in the Smart Factory will know at any stage where they are, know their history, their current status and the production steps that are still missing to create a completed product.
The technical basis are cyber-physical systemsthat communicate via the iternet of things with each other. Part of this future scenario is communication between product and/or workpiece carrier and manufacturing plant: The product provides its production information in machine-readable form, e.g. on a RFID chip. The path of the product through the manufacturing plant and the individual manufacturing steps is controlled using these data.